Prevalence estimates of somatic symptom disorder (SSD) in the pediatric population are highly variable, due in part to the evolution of terminology and diagnostic criteria used to define the illness. The likelihood of encountering patients with somatic symptoms is quite high regardless of specialty, as it is well-established that SSD is associated with significant health care use across all settings. The diagnostic uncertainty inherent to SSD can lead to frustration and distrust of the health care system, creating substantial challenges in maintaining a strong therapeutic alliance. Mental health consultation concomitant with medical testing can expedite the diagnostic process, foster a therapeutic alliance, and help build trust with the team of providers, while providing support for children and their families. The recommended treatment is a multidisciplinary approach with an emphasis on symptomatic relief and return of function, while avoiding any excessive medical testing or treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health